Redbud Syrup

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Redbud Syrup

When we house hunted, we dreamed of living in an old house with lots of character – nooks and crannies, pocket doors, and maybe a turret. We ended up in brand new construction with no character, but also no maintenance or rehab required; practicality won over sentiment. Not only was the charm missing, but we also had no trees. We learned that there used to be an apple orchard on our lot, but those trees and any other trees that might have been on the property were long gone.

We began the process of bringing back trees to our lot last year. We planted three apple trees (which are blooming for the first time right now – fingers crossed for apples in the fall) and a redbud tree.

Redbud Tree

It will be prettier when it gets bigger, but I still love it!

I learned the other day that both the redbud flowers and the redbud leaves are edible! We got lucky because that is not at all why we picked the tree.

Redbud Syrup

I tested the waters by gingerly picking off a redbud flower and eating it. I’ll admit that I looked around to see if any of my neighbors were staring at me. The coast was clear. It had a sort of generic spring-like taste, a little tart, a touch of floral, and a bit like young greens (think pea shoots). Not bad. I am definitely going to use the flowers on salads as long as there are still flowers on my tree.

Next, I set about making a redbud syrup.

I love elderflower syrup, so I wanted to see what redbud syrup would taste like. (View on Amazon) [paid link]

I always struggle with bringing flowers into my house from the yard because they look so pretty outside. So, with a little bit of sadness, I picked a bunch of the flowers off of my redbud and began the syrup-making process.

Redbud Flowers

Redbud flowers are SO pretty!

The instructions for redbud syrup are below and you’ll find that the process is pretty straightforward. Depending on how long you boil the syrup for, you can end up with thin pink syrup (shown in this post) or a deeper pink-red syrup that’s pancake-ready (also good for soaking sponge cakes). In either case, the syrup will have a very mild flavor. If you mix it with anything that has a strong flavor, you’ll lose the subtle redbud taste. Other syrups made with flowers often include lemon in the recipe, but I specifically left it out because I didn’t want to overpower the redbud.

I Want to Hear From You

I’m clearly new to the world of eating redbud so I’d love to hear from you. Do you have a redbud at your house or in a nearby park? Did you know that you can eat the flowers? Go try them and let me know what you think they taste like. If you make the syrup, let me know if you like it thin or thick and how you end up using it. I’ll update this post with more information as I hear from you.

Redbud Syrup

Thanks to everyone who played along on Facebook trying to guess what this liquid was. Some of you had some fantastic guesses and were so close to getting it right! Now that you know the answer, it will be funny to go back to read some of the guesses. Congrats to Nataliya Lavrykova for being the first to guess correctly!

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Redbud Syrup
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5 from 4 votes

Redbud Syrup

I learned the other day that both the redbud flowers and the redbud leaves are edible!  
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 20 servings
Calories 13kcal
Author Stefani


  • 2 ounces freshly picked redbud flowers Be sure to remove any debris or bugs. You can give them a little rinse, too.
  • 4 cups water
  • about 1/3 cup sugar


  • Bring flowers and water to a boil in a medium-sized pot on high heat.
  • Remove from the heat and cover. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.
  • Use a fine sieve to remove the flowers.
  • Weigh the remaining redbud-flavored water and add an equal amount of sugar (by weight).
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, stirring periodically. Cook until desired thickness is reached. At about 25 minutes it will still be thin, but great for cocktails. Keep it going another ten minutes or so for a thicker syrup.


Reader Jacqueline shared this great tip: "My soaking water was a murky green. And the longer it boiled, the greener it got. It occurred to us that it might be a pH issue, so I added a little lemon juice and now my syrup is a lovely bright pink! Kitchen chemistry for the win!"


Calories: 13kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 4mg | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 55IU | Vitamin C: 0.8mg | Calcium: 3mg
Have you tried this recipe?Click here to leave a comment and rating!

Redbud Jelly

If you like making jam (I’m looking at you, Vallery Schofield-Miller, so I hope you are reading this), you’ll probably like this recipe for Mr. Johnson’s redbud jelly.

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  1. Jeannesays:

    I’m a professional pastry chef, and feel I need to point out that the lemon juice in other recipes is included for the preservative qualities of its citric acid, not for flavor. Simple syrups can and often do grow foodborne bacteria that can make folks very ill, even if the syrup is kept chilled. You should not omit it.

  2. Toni Tylersays:

    I first heard about redbud syrup in a book by Alyce McDaniel a North Carolina native. Since I have a Redbud tree I was curious and found your information. It is now February so I am anxiously waiting for my tree to bloom. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks

  3. Msays:

    I never knew you could eat redbuds. I’m going to try this!

    I love apple trees. I used to have crabapple trees at two different houses I lived in. One was an inedible variety (I did use the twigs for candied apples –used redhots) My dh’s grandmother also had a huge crabapple tree. She thought the apples were worthless-they were tiny and prone to worms from no pesticides. The apples still made the best pie.

    One thing to remember, if you love the apples on one of your trees, you can’t just plant the seed to get the same variety. You have to graft the branches from your favourite tree onto a new tree. Who knew? My grandparents had a neighbor with an apple orchard–the best apples that were the product of generations of work.

  4. Jacquelinesays:

    My soaking water was a murky green. And the longer it boiled, the greener it got. It occurred to us that it might be a pH issue, so I added a little lemon juice and now my syrup is a lovely bright pink! Kitchen chemistry for the win! And now for that lovely cocktail… :)

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    We would appreciate it if you shared this with your readers, followers and fans.

  6. Ai - @aimadeitforyousays:

    I’ve actually never heard of redbuds before reading this post! I guess it’s not a common flower where I live. The color is beautiful!

  7. Kathy Gsays:

    We have a red bud tree right next to our deck (grown from a tiny Arbor Day sprout that came home from the kid’s school many years ago). Two springs ago I picked some of the flowers and threw them into a batch of muffins, which turned out really good.

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